Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

City Schools Talking the Right Language

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

City Schools Talking the Right Language

Article excerpt

ABOUT FOUR YEARS AGO, I wrote a column critical of the St. Louis School Board for dropping its foreign language requirement for graduation.

Board members at the time believed the requirement was too much of a hurdle for some students to jump. w Instead, students who were college-bound were encouraged, but not required, to take a foreign language.

That column quoted Rep. Charles Quincy Troupe, D-St. Louis, who was troubled by the decision. "I've traveled around the world, and we're in big trouble if we think that they're going to be speaking English everywhere we go," he said. "And with the world growing closer together and our economies being linked, it just makes absolutely no sense to drop the foreign language requirement." I argued that knowing a foreign language was becoming increasingly important, even if you never leave the United States. In some major cities, Spanish is nearly as important as English. But just as I criticized board members then, I must commend them now for trying to develop a way to bring foreign language back in a much better form than before. "Colleges today are asking for stricter requirements," said the Rev. Earl Nance, who chairs the board's committee that looks at curriculum. "We've got to make sure that our kids are competitive." Toward that end, Nance and some other board members would like to see foreign language become more prominent in the public schools. "From birth to about age 6, youngsters' minds are just like sponges," he said. "So why not start foreign language at early ages, and in all schools, not just the magnet schools? By the time the student is in high school, he or she will feel much more comfortable with it." Nance is calling for the implementation of such a program. That's gratifying to William Pearson, the district's associate superintendent for curriculum and programs. Pearson has been pushing such an idea for a dozen years. "There is a great deal of research that suggests that children learn best early," he said. "We could offer foreign language as early courses and require it at the secondary level." Pearson would like to see such courses begun either at the early childhood or kindergarten level. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.